Single Review: Calvin Harris – ‘Feel So Close’

“The sound of a producer frantically chucking perfunctory ideas at a melody so slight it’s impossible to hit”

2 STARS

Digital Release: August 21, 2011

Physical Release: N/A

In November 2010, in an interview with The Herald Sun, Calvin Harris announced his retirement from singing to an audience of people pretending to care – it even got Perez Hilton pulling his best ever faux-shock face. They were probably being nice. It’s not hard to tell he’s not the best vocal talent around, and his announcement should have probably been greeted with cheers, but then again, this was the same interview he claimed he wouldn’t release another album any time soon, so it’s no surprise at all to see his vocals being pulled out of retirement for his new single.

There are some musical genres that have an everlasting impact that permeates commercial barriers and overrides the waves of popularity other, less articulate genres may receive. Genres such as the purest unadulterated forms of pop and rock may merely be taking a backseat commercially these days, but their influences ring loudly and clearly. Others just vanish; once their time in the spotlight selling records is over it’s almost as if they never happened and the mass population move onto a new trend and without losing a wink of sleep. But it’d be foolish to try a borrow influences from this kind of musical ‘era’ if you like. Particularly one whose ideas and innovation died along with the last years of the nineties. This kind of disco house fluff – which at the time made claims to musical credibility in at least a small form due to the fact that they seemed to have been influenced by American dance music from the 70’s – is being recalled in Calvin Harris’ music.

The catch being though, that dear Calvin doesn’t have the ability to suggest that his handbag house revival has much more depth than a puddle. Maybe that’s the genre’s fault – it seems willing to be as depthless and as bereft of any remotely interesting contribution as the heads of the girls who would dance around piles of their handbags on a dancefloor every Saturday night to the sound of supposedly uplifting dance hits.

‘Feel So Close’ is made worse by the fact it tries to inject some kind of emotion. Over an uninventive, alternating two-note sequence, Harris’ equally unimpressive voice drones through his contributory verse. The song doesn’t do anything, both melodically and vocally it barely refrains from completely flat-lining. The lyrics are particularly shocking and sound like the dialogue between two hopelessly romanticising nerds from a cheaply-produced sci-fi B-movie: “I feel so close to you right now/It’s a force-field”. But that’s not really the problem: the problem is that the song as a whole just isn’t strong enough. As a result we’re given the sound of a producer frantically chucking perfunctory ideas at a melody so slight it’s impossible to hit.

 

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